Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 22, 2014 1:00am-3:01am EST

1:00 am
i knew girls could do more. i was in classes with gifted girls, and i was surprised they weren't more outraged. i was outraged in a way that makes a person bitter, angry, et. cetera, whatever the wrong stereo type of a feminist is. gosh, i'm going to do what i intend to do, and it is illogical to hold back half the nation. we need to compete on the global stage. doesn't america want the brainy girls in the driver's seat? we want to keep up with other nations in math, science, physics, what have you? >> guest: how do you define feminism today? are we in a post feminism era? >> guest: we are not in a post feminist era. i'm concerned about the quote, war on women, we are rolling back the access to reproductive right.
1:01 am
there's no end to the violence against women. we have not stopped shaming girls about their body. we have so much sex women in the media. which implies you have to have a certain shape to be loved or popular. the problem in term of refining feminism is it is true what unifies a lot of women globally is what done to women. i don't want to identify feminism about victim hollywood. that's a important critique. empowered feminism says that women should be equal in their rights and opportunities period. where we don't see that we want to push forward to make that possible. end of statement. but, no, there is so many work to do. and globally the statistics are frightening in term of women's lack of access, again, to everything from education to health and information about
1:02 am
their options. >> host: do you think that sexism plays any role in hillary clinton's presidential chance? >> guest: absolutely. i use the misrepresentation in my classroom. one of my students is in it. the film looks at media bias in terms of how women are observed as they pursue a political candidacy. inevitably, they are closed, the tone of their voice, their hair all that have is addressed. hillary's been just absolutely maligned by different commentary with respect to men don't want a women telling them what to do, they don't like the sound of her voice, she represents sort of hectoring stance. that's very much based on the dilemma should women tell men what to do in the marc level.
1:03 am
men didn't want women making policy decisions because they felt that the influence of the mother figure should stay in the home. so we don't want women who are a childbearing age running. we have insane thought that you should be in the ohio valley office if you might have your period. if you're post men menopausal there's a punch of stereotypes. you are an older mother figure shaming men. i see it in lots of campaigns. watching the news is important. yes, it's painful. and i think it is in part because there is a long tradition where by men define their independent by leaving home and no longer having to go what mommy says. the aspect is you can have mommy running the country, of course, because we also ask women to be multitaskers and to make all the
1:04 am
decisions that keep private life in order. applying those skills in public life, there's a lot of concern about what it means. would it mean that a women would miss work because of child care? usually when women are candidates they ask how can you do this and raise kids? i'm familiar with all of those issues, but for each semester students are encountering, for the first time, how we analyze that. why does keep happening? when women are high achievers why do we find the old ideas? and it's -- it's sad for me to see students alarmed and feeling pain that their mother's feminism did not eliminate the issues. >> host: who are some of your personal hero's in the women's right's movement? >> guest: oh my gosh. what a long list.
1:05 am
my personal heroes would definitely include all the women who started women's bookstores. the women who started women's music festivals. the women who made title ix possible. pat -- patsy mink, we bernice. judy, lillian who created the field of academic studies and lesbian history. my friend and mentor tony armstrong, junior who started a magazine called "hot wire." to look at women in rock and the women in the music festival in the '70. obviously a people who have done a lot of labor around women's reproductive rights. the olympics champions who broke barriers making it possible for
1:06 am
women to finally do ski jump or ice hockey or run a marathon. everybody who started the wnba, all the folks who were the first to be in a class at an ivy league school, or who broke the gender barrier in the service academies. it's a giant range. i know, i'm leaving out people, and later on i feel bad. people who pushed entry to closed occupations. >> host: this is the first time in the olympics that with women are doing the ski jump? >> guest: they are afraid it will hurt them. why don't we worry about the guys. this is an interesting question. why do we allow women to be injured and we forbid women? there's a lot of drama around women as child barers,
1:07 am
nonetheless, we do allow women to get hurt all the time. if we're really concerned about women's physical safety, then everyone should be on the front line of dealing with rape and violence against women. instead we hear only, you know, an olympics occasion. or women who wants to play, you know, football or rugby. i'm a faculty adviser to women's rugby. so those ironies are intriguing. but i can certainly say i gave a talk to my nieces' girl scout troop they wanted to know is there still bias against girls? she was in a ski resort town. all i had to do was point out the window and you see the women skiing down the mountain? they can't do ski yomp in -- jump in the olympics. they were appalled. i'm delighted it changed. in her lifetime the reversal on the ban on women's ski jump.
1:08 am
>> host: goomp and -- good afternoon and welcome to in-depth program. it's the monthly program with one author and his or her body of work. this month, professor and author bonnie morris. she's the author of six non-fiction books along with poetry books. giving in 1997 with the ask the the high school scene in the fifties." it came out in 1999. "girl: her memoir." revenge of the women's study prover. 2009. her most recent book came out last year, women's history for "beginners." is there a danger in women's groups? women's bookstores, women's studies? kind of a get --
1:09 am
ghettoization. >> guest: separate culture has come to an end. we have integrated a lot of what used to be separate in to main stream bookstores. of course, now they're all going out of business, too. some of what would be a natural change, as you bring women's work in to the main stream is being effected by technological changes. so that the internet and other sites allow women to find support groups and communities where before they had to go to a physical sight. the issue of ghettoization is intriguing to me. they say why do we need a women's study program. shouldn't we have a men's study programs. that's the other classes. that's a joke. but i think it's still important for women to have places together in groups to exchange information and to have a sense
1:10 am
what it's like to be the majority, even if temporarily. many of my students, let's say, who are take engineering are still the only women in a class. they don't know what it's like to be in a classroom that is majority female. it's a very good experience. in contrast i have a lot of students who come out a single-sex private high school. they're very familiar with female leadership and women being the majority. they're not self-conscious about being athletes and leaders. one of the things that is very moving, to me, in the u.s. as we have forced a kind of integrated coed culture, we have lost some traditional women's spaces that other countries with stricter customs do have. for instance, when i taught on semester on sea and took students we went to a traditional women's bathhouse in turkey and south korea. these are community spaces where
1:11 am
women gathering gather, traditionally, they didn't have a bathroom. they would exchange news and gossip and sing and scrub each other's back. a welcoming and intimate culture. i was happy to experience something like that. my women's study class that went with me, the young women were terrified. they were uncomfortable getting undressed and participating with local women. every one of them said the same thing. i'm too fat. i can't do it. i'm too fat. i hate my body. that american aspect of being unable to participate in traditional women's culture because you have a western bias self-hating view of your body. wow. everyone on the ship wrote their paper about that. what does that say? yes, we're advanced in term of some women's rights, but we expect women now to have it all the ideally wife and mother, but
1:12 am
a career woman, athlete, and look perfect. no one can do all of that. and trying to control some elements of those self-scrutiny for perfection. my college-aged students, as opposed to my older friends, very much feel the burden of trying to look perfect and it takes a toll on your focus and your attention. you should be reading a book not worrying about your body all day. >> you can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let him forget he's a man. >> host: the commercial of mid adolescence. exactly. >> host: if you would like to participate in our conversation this afternoon with bonnie morris. we're going put the phone lines on the screen.
1:13 am
@booktv is our twitter handle. you ask send an e-mail at booktv at c-span.org or leave a comment on facebook.com/booktv. bonnie morris, where did you grow up? >> guest: i was born on mother's day in los angeles. i lived in west l.a. until from '61 to '71. until i was 10. a great time to live through the peace marching '60s. i had peace movement parents with a big paper sign in the front window. every christmas, and i went to a very international elementary school that was sort of the school for kids whose parents were married grad students at ucla. so a lot of people who are on citizenships from all over the world and various times i was one of a handful of, you know, american-born kids in my
1:14 am
classroom. i thought it was normal that everybody came from japan and india and the philippines and. when i was 10 we moved to north carolina. what a wake-up call. i was in durham, north carolina. >> host: why did you move? >> guest: my dad left his job at the aircraft, he was asked to design an antiaircraft missile. he didn't want to be an arms designer. he was very much against the war, and he went back to grad school and he took a position with the environmental protection agency. so the next thing i knew, we were in north carolina in the early '70 when the state had barely integrated, and after a year of a pretty abusive local public school, my brother and i enrolled at carolina friends school, which was the first integrated school in the state. a private quaker school where we were very fortunate to get a
1:15 am
wonderful education with really dynamic and caring progressive educators. i ended up graduating from high school there, and i owe everything to carolina friends' school. very much. and my parents. >> host: where did you go to college? >> guest: american university in d.c. i'm the first au grad to have graduated with the women's studies minor. it was established the year i was a senior. i did all the credits in one year, and i was the jewish history major as an undergrad. i spent a year in israel. i was in interested in looking at women's community, obviously. when i went to grad school, i looked at women in the ultra orthodox jewish community. the community and i looked at one particular community in brooklyn. i was interested in, at that time, examining jewish
1:16 am
fundamentalism. everyone was looking at christian fundamentalism. what is going on over here. i was hard i are raised in an orthodox way in any definition. it was as fascinating, to me, to see what it would be like to live as a traditional jewish woman but in the feminist time of our lives. i looked how the one in the community had taken some of the language of american feminism and applied it to their lives. i finished my doctorate at the upstate new york -- a public ivy. i had a really great education. >> host: and from the book, you write, no group of immigrant women committed to reproducing a spiritual vision of womanhood should be marginalize by the
1:17 am
feminist historians. instead the feminist historian has an obligation to acknowledge diverse content of ethnic and gender identities. >> guest: yeah. my friends in grad school, you know, were looking at women in history who were, you know, leaders for women's rights or who radical revolutionaries, and a lot of the feedback i had was you, why would you pick this group, you know, an extremely right-wing women who live in a community where women are not permitted to participate in the rituals men do. my argument is you have to look at the whole apple. look at the whole apple of women's communities globally. instead of spending at lough time saying why would any women live like this. you ask what do the women do with their permitted agency? what do they do within their permitted sphere? and it's interesting. i found that many women were the
1:18 am
breadwinners, the men were scholarly and the women had jobs. the girls were very empowered to the point of being fresh and rude. there was no self-est teem problem there. i looked at that community in part because it could have been me. it could have been me. my ancestors fled poland and russia. it scrolled been me, if there had not been the tragedy of the holocaust, you know, my roots could have remained in eastern europe. but i would not have been able to be a scholar because i'm a girl. the whole gentle thing, i wanted to know what if you are a brain any girl in the society where the men get to be authorities and brilliant minds and the women are expected to be informed but domestic. i went right to the women themselves, and in fact, they were very outspoken,
1:19 am
well-published and touring, frankly, with their own agenda. this is what i call the -- syndrome. women who travel around the world telling women their job is to stay in the home. what interests me in the movement of conservativism women. you have multiple figure head as they they live i do. the content is different. when you have women traveling around the world telling other women their places to remain uneducate, that is hypocrisy. i'm interested in that. >> host: talking about roger and mira. your parent. your mother is jewish. you describe your father as a surfer. >> host: -- >> guest: yeah. >> host: you write we dressed up like our parent. we went to formal dances. we had fundraisers like our parents. everything we did was rehearsal
1:20 am
for what we were going to do later. get married to someone of the right ethnic and social background. no other possibilities were discussed. >> guest: i don't know if that's my mother or father speaking. i interviewed my parent. i believe their marriage is a terrific story. after a lifetime of listening it their stories to turn on my tape recorders. probably during the year when i was a visiting professor at harvard. i started interviewing my parents. they broke all kinds of social taboos by intermarrying in their day. that the time they went to a high school that had segregated clubs. there were jewish clubs and jentil clubs. and jack camp was in the christian club. my father pledged a jewish club. he joined a jewish gang, the cardinals, he was the token. my parents thought the whole business of ridiculous, and they
1:21 am
actively worked -- if they didn't dismantle it all together, they certainly took a standby challenging some of the norms. and then having this radical wedding at the time when you weren't supposed to marry outside your group, and their example put me on the path of, you know, where i am now that everybody should be able to get married and you, you know, choose your own partner. they were very much the people who made me what i am in terms of a concern about social justice and as much as we were, you know, unusual family in term of involvement in various progressive causes, they were extremely responsible with, you know, bedtime. the orthodontist and everything. i think everyone's image of a progressive family is a chaotic home. i did not get sent to hebrew
1:22 am
school, i honored think mother and father. i have written a great deal about my parents. >> host: where they still alive? >> guest: my mother is. she is probably watching. my father passed away almost four years ago. we miss him very much. he was an important figure. he's the guy locally in d.c. who built the volleyball court at the lincoln memorial. his contribution was to create a free, acceptable reck creation space for all citizen in the district of columbia and there are double tournaments going on on the courts right now thanks to his vision. >> host: you write by the early 1970 the women's movement in the u.s. had grown enormously. making gangs in some area of legal and economic change but still divided. along the lines of race, class, sexuality. members of political groups such as now faced off over the question of lesbian disability and over the question of whether to condemn male super structures
1:23 am
such as organized religion and the military or demand women's integration in to those existing halls of power. movement leader betty declared that lesbian rights were a lavender herring. >> guest: okay. well, yes. i went from describing women in one sort of women-only space to the other end of the spectrum. radical women's music festival. this is the link of my work. i'm interested in women's communities on all ends of the spectrum. a history of women's music and acceptable culture which were a dynamic part of the '70, '80s, and '90s. i wrote it, because i was participating by then in women's
1:24 am
music festival not being described anywhere else in main stream jock journalism. it gave us the indigo girls and tracy chatman and many other performers who are not household names, and i wanted to document something that i felt was a very important aspect of my culture. i was in graduate school doing women's history but nowhere being introdoesed to the history -- lesbians. i was out and proud at age of 18. i had the impression even in an excellent ph.d. program in women history there were no narrative or history of -- lesbian groups worthy by the time i finished my ph.d. programs students a few years younger than me were looking at different women's community. i went back to this past spring
1:25 am
after 30 years and gave a talk. i said, you know, we lived up -- many students were doing doctoral work on the campus and the rest of our time we were involved in a lesbian bar. we knew our lives mattered. we weren't being made to feel they were worth writing about. i had a keenly that i had an almost moral obligation describe what i was participating in. which was women creating spaces for each other when they had limited right and opportunities. one very important subculture was women's music festivals where artists were make the music that enabled women to see their partnerships as valid and decent and loving. and nobody else was feeding that. that validation came from artists including comedians and dramaists. and festival culture impressed
1:26 am
me. women did all the jobs. if you wanted to have a space for performances that nobody else could stage, you needed people to run a stage. techies, lightening designers, sound engineers, and these are some of my favorite people. the techy women who enabled the sound to reach an audience. so i would be sitting in the audience doing multiple documenting. i'm listening to my friends' performing on stage. i'm taking notes and tape recording speeches being made and taking photographs. [laughter] and i have one of the best archives of women's music in america today. it's all in my front room in a giant pink dresser. didn't plan on it being pink. something i inherited from my parent's basement. my mother kept dance costumes in a long time. >> host: gwen tweets inspect i
1:27 am
don't hear much about the equal rights amendment. what would the ratification for the u.s. in the done for women? >> guest: what a great question. i went door to door for era as an 18-year-old. equality of rights under the law should not be denied or abridged by the united united or any state on account of sex. that's all it says. that equality of rights was a misunderstanding by so many people who feared it would mean mandating unisex bedrooms, which we have, by the way. going to door to door in affluent montgomery county i knock on the door of senators and congressmen. i would hear from everyone we can't have the era. it would mean everyone using the same bathroom, mandatory gay marriage, all about abortion. wrong, wrong, wrong. it's about equality of rights. i believe if it passed, we would have found it was much easier to
1:28 am
track women in to opportunities that remain closed for quite awhile. we had to piecemeal, undo a lot of sexist legislation. but the dealing that equality was that controversial was so strong that in 1979, when i was going door to door. i had people threaten me, stick their dogs on me. you know, quote from scriptture, tell me i was going to burn in hell. order me off the lawn in a scary way. it was quite an education. and i was right out of high school. i believe that many women devoted so much of their energy and their lives to getting the era passed. beginning with al las paul who introdoesed -- introdoesed it in 1923. we forget it consumed so much energy of the women in the '70s up to '82. the fact we never got three fifths of the state to ratify
1:29 am
the equal right. that's chilling. i know, a lot of women did everything from fasting to putting all of their savings in to the hope that we really would amend equality for women in this nation. >> host: let's take some calls for bonnie morris. we begin with paul in morristown, new jersey. you are on booktv. >> caller: thank you. professor morris. >> guest: hi! kristin: in august or september or 2008 when the nation was getting to know sarah palin, did you regard the governor as a powerful symbol of a success of feminism or perhaps even as icon in the fact she built her political career pretty much on her own. [inaudible] and, you know, to the wife of a powerful man. >> host: if i may, quickly. how do you feel about sarah palin? are you a supporter of hers? >> caller: oh, yeah. one of the original supporters
1:30 am
of hers. i thought she cleaned up the corruption in alaska. she, you know, put, you know, a lot of people -- i like some of the crusaders for against corruption. >> host: thank you, sir. let's get an answer. >> guest: i thought that, you know, obviously in many ways, she was elected or selected to be an important symbol for not just a woman politician who had already been, you know, empowered as a governor. her representation as a person who was a family woman who talked very adamantly about her kids and who presented a certain kind of main stream -- i think it was intended as an opposition to the qualities that people feared about hillary clinton or other feminists candidates. i think any woman who wants to
1:31 am
run should run. when a woman is empowered to make policy and is not necessarily supportive of women's reproductive rights, i get anxious. i was not a supporter of palin. obviously at the time, the big question around the country was if you support women's rights why wouldn't you support any woman running? because by the time you're voting, i think there's a difference between a female candidate and a feminist candidate. i remain a staunch feminist. >> host: if you can't get through on the phoneline. you e-mail booktv@c-span.org. you can make a comment on twitter@booktv or make a comment on facebook.com/c-span. cc from portland, oregon. hi? >> caller: hi. i'm interested in your thoughts about black feminism. i'm concerned about the turn of
1:32 am
women's history that oftentimes, for me, is con con -- con at a times white women of a certain class. often time i don't hear about the experience of women of color, but particularly african-american women. within the context -- [inaudible] when you say the word women's history it involves all women. it should. in practice, i think it really talks about experience of white women and the concerns they've had in dealing with white men. >> host: i apologize, i want to ask her. do you consider yourself a feminist? >> caller: i just consider myself someone that is interested in equal rights for all women. but particularly women that are marginalized. so i don't know i don't mind the term feminism, but in only the issue of equality that would make a feminist. i don't mind the term. i'm concerned about the way in
1:33 am
which i hearing the way women's history is being equal for all women, when people who subscribe to feminism or women talk about women's history don't rarely talk about women of color and their particular issues. and just assume that those issues will be taken care of as we -- take care of issues that -- >> host: i apologize. >> guest: that's a great question. you are absolutely right. this is the biggest concern in my teaching. my -- if you took one of my classes, i hope you would find that i absolutely represent the history of african-american women, we look at the position of women of color in feminism. how has feminism made mistakes? what are the critical turning points where white nists have the opportunity not to discriminate and unfortunately alienated black women in
1:34 am
america. there's a very important book in black women's study with the title "all the women are white. all the blacks are men, some of us are brave: black women's studies." it's a textbook issued called "still brave" inspect those writes and other books i assign. one of the things i look at where we see the invisibility of black women in history. it's around the 15th amendment. which gave black men the right to vote. they went to the black leader frederick douglass and said we supported you. will you support us? what is going to happen with women getting to vote? he said to you? the vote is desirable, to us it is necessary. okay. you -- who is missing in that statement? white women, black men. they it's one example of a turning point. we also have women who were
1:35 am
black sufferrists being asked not to march in the famous suffrageist parade that alice paul read. a number of white were hoping to get southern male senators to support it. these are all examples of what alienated folks from the each other in the movement. the fact that white women were abusive slave owners. add that and stir. if you look at the current film "12 years a slave." you see examples of women doing injustice to other women. so, yes, it is the agenda of every decent women's study program in the country to make sure that it is not just white feminism that is being instructed. i really appreciate your call. you can count on me. >> host: you are a professor. because in your book "women's history for beginners." you makes take a quiz. >> guest: i do. >> host: we might have some of our viewers take the quiz as
1:36 am
well. in fact, question number 12 in your quiz. in what year were the first african women brought to colonial america as slaves? i'm going to say 1700. >> guest: it's a little earlier than that. 1619, and that is the beginning of the scenario in this country where we literally control women's bodies both as property and sexually. i think, again, the film "12 years a slave" is reintroducing people to what the history looks like. the biggest i did dilemma i have, as a history professor i'm exposed in the media to criticism from different conservative religious groups that call on family values. traditional family values are supposed to be somehow an opposition to what feminists stand for. let look at what real
1:37 am
traditional values are in the united for something like, you know, 244 years of legalized slavery, we had people owning women's bodies, selling their children, slave owners had every right under the law to impregnate slaves. we had no rape laws protecting those women. we violated the mother/child bond in every way by separating mother and baby for profit. many women were forced to have as many children as possible to pay off their owners' debt. that's a tradition. we don't want to look at. it only began to change much later in american history. so as much as women's history is painful, sometimes i tell my students, oh, here is a day with the subject matter is so excruciating i wish i taught the history of baking. but nonetheless, we have to know. >> host: in your book "women's
1:38 am
history for beginners" you write throughout most of history a woman was her body. a dangerous equation. >> guest: yes. what was regulated about what we could and couldn't do was based on the modesty of her appearing in public. what was considered dangerous for her because of her childbearing capacity. there were a lot of misinformed doctors in the 19th i century that women lost energy every month and shouldn't do sports or study. they thought that learning latin and greek would direct blood away from the womb and in to the brain and make women infertile. back to cc's point and the whole range of issues. we have one view in the 19th century that women should be delicate and pure and stay away from dangerous work. or that too much strain would hurt your womb. then we have enslaved women doing difficult work and not only did it not damage their
1:39 am
fertility. their fertility is being exploited. what is the real ?riewt -- truth. women able to do what we need them. that's what i mean by the women's body is -- >> host: paul calling from missouri. >> caller: yes. >> host: you would like to take a quiz on women's history? [laughter] question 41 from women's history for "beginners." bonnie morris asks, when were women first admitted to west point and the naval academy? >> caller: i would say in 1996. >> host: let's get the answer. >> guest: actually 1976. they were brought in through a bill signed by president ford, and women who were the first class at west point very small group, were really not able to learn from each other. they were broken up and scattered to different units.
1:40 am
in part to sort of showcase, yes, we have a woman in each unit. but they had a very difficult row to hoe. they were the subject of a media attention. it made the other men angry they were running the same five miles and the guys weren't getting cameras. you know, had the women had a hard time proving they were one of the guys. because they were the subject of special interest. but yet we look at that in my women in war class. >> host: paul, go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: quickly. our son is a graduate of west point. our daughter went one year and decided to be a pharmacist instead. [laughter] i've been a pharmacist for 40 years. when i started out, bonnie, i had 50% women in my graduating class and now there are 85% women in the graduating class. i live in a family of five brothers and four sisters. so my perspective is this, i think we must make certain that
1:41 am
women and others now in a minority of government -- that these people be qualified and able to stand on their own feet and not pushed to leadership role of repair. my main thing is they must be prepared. we know what that is. data that's is a problem we have in the government and suffering miserably for it. thank you. >> host: thank you very much. >> host: we have an e-mail from so fee in l.a. i would like to ask for bonnie's perspective on female characters in film, and if she can point to a recent role that illustrates women positively. >> guest: oh my goodness. what a terrific question. thank you very much. i talk about what it was like to grow up in the '70 with an increasing range of good female roles and the movies my parents took me to that made a deep impression on me.
1:42 am
.. i'm a fan of the film, a league of their own. i was able to meet penny marshall when she received an award here in d.c. one of the few films that shows the true history of women's sports and the all-american girl's baseball league is my favorite topic. peppy -- penny marshall made to
1:43 am
the point she was not well-funded to make a film about women in sports. she had to cast her brother, and her daughter, and so we still have a really regrettable lack of women behind the camera, and it's startling to my students, who see hollywood as very liberal, that in fact it's one of the most job segregated areas in our country. the number of women directors and the women who do sound and lighting is regretably very small. i think we can do much better. i remember when barbara streisand appeared in "the mirror has two faces." she was vilified for being difficult and pushy and other awesomism for being a strong jewish woman. but while she was being reviewed as a director at the "washington
1:44 am
post," i was appearing in a movie at the same time. i was an extra in "contact" filmed here in washington. so it was on the set of a mainstream hollywood film while thinking about what is the future of women in film? i was able to see -- this was 1997 -- everybody working on the movie was a guy. a makeup woman, just as you see in cartoons, and somebody who brought in the catering snacks, and everybody else was male. very different than my experience working at women's music festivals where everybody doing the plumbing, the sound tower, is a woman. so not only was i startled how mass christian the -- the whole thing was impressive, and meanwhile these guys were saying, get out of the way, sweetheart, or move, honey, and they're moving cables around. and ironically i was playing a
1:45 am
naval lieutenant so i was in a uniform. lots of thought-provoking material, and i took notes in my journal while sitting in the chair. so have a good accounting what it was like to appear in a film while looking at how media treats women directors and all of the -- thank you. >> host: dick in reno, nevada, hearings another question from the quiz before you can ask your question. >> okay. >> host: in what year did american women win the vote and can you name the amendment? >> caller: 1919, and it's forget the name of the amendment. is that close? >> guest: that's pretty good. it 1920, the 19th amendment. and -- but thank you. the 18th for the record is prohibition. that's important because a lot of people were afraid to give women the vote, fearing women would ban alcohol. actually prohibition passes before women had the vote.
1:46 am
that's a piece of trivia. >> host: dick, go ahead. >> caller: this is just a wonderful subject today, and i was been in the 'oh hos so i saw this women coming into leadership getting into higher education when i was in college in the '60s and my account class there was one woman, and that same college today it's 60% women. so, these whole things are moving in a wonderful direction. the question i have, bonnie, globally, what percentage of higher education enrollment today are women versus men? >> guest: that's a great quit. don't have the answer globally. in the united states, women are the majority on college campuses, and the point you bring up about the shift in accounting and the previous caller, about the shift in pharmacy, this is very important. theser great questions. no one ever planned for women to be enrolled in colleges in equal
1:47 am
numbers, and the fact that women have now surpassed men in enrollment, this is not -- was not in anyone's plan and it's alarming to some people because so much funding has been set aside for, say, women's sports, that was never planned on. when title ix was passed that said higher education that receives federal dollars may not discriminate on the basis of sex, women were a very small percentage of college enrollment, so didn't seem as though a whole lot of money would have to be shifted to women's sports or that women would be as large a presence in higher education as they are. now the fear is that education is being feminized because there's so many women, and there have been changes necessary because women do attend college classes in larger numbers and so
1:48 am
on. it's a huge contrast for women in afghanistan, pakistan, globally a challenge for a lot of girls, but, say, throughout africa, not being able to afford school fees, not having shoes, not having clothing, not having sanitary products, things we don't like to think about but that prevent 12-year-old from going to class. what i found is that the more that women take courses which we once considered mass christian, the more that field starts to be seen as something women do, like pharmacy, and the fact we have women in med school, law school, graduate school, they were trying to keep women out of the evey league for years, and the harvard and yales, for instance, had a quota for every two women admitted, three men had to be
1:49 am
admitted on campus. so, women had to be much better in terms of their test scores and so forth. when i look at the campuses where i teach, there is a majority of women, but that doesn't mean that the women are going to take women's studies or have a lot of female professors. it means the undergraduate enrollment is majority female. so you can still have a female environment but not learn women's history or have female role models. how about that? >> host: neil tweets in, how do you see marriage continuing as an institution if women are going to equal or surpass men in society? >> guest: okay. well, first of all, i'll take this opportunity to say on national tv that, of course, i'm an advocate for gay marriage, and again, as the daughter of an intermarriage i have seen the possibility of lasting marriage where people predicted failure
1:50 am
because of difference. i think that marriage can only be strengthened by the equality of the participants. i believe that what is challenging in our time is that much of the law around marriage and households is based on the idea of there being a head of household and a subordinate. so the fact we legalized both parties in terms of their access to controlling money or making decisions, that is hard to adapt. we come from a position where the woman -- everything she brought to the marriage became he husband resident property. back to ancient greek and roman law. a woman was child bride, treat as a child, and all of her concerns are taken care of by the husband because he was much older and more educated. she never became an adult. she was perpetual minor in the
1:51 am
eyes of the law. never participated in politics or the economy. and that ended up all the way through history, affecting english law and colonial law and early american law and then law, law, law, right up until world war ii. technically, the decisionses have been made by the husband and women could not operate separately. moreover, married woman is distinguished from an unmarried woman by our forms of address, miss and mrs.. ms. was a huge big deal. sort of effort to mask what is a woman's marital status. we mask a man's. a lot of people don't know that ms. was adapted in spanish, for sena. that's a wonderful piece of trivia from mexican feminism.
1:52 am
>> host: is that -- >> guest: i don't know. but i was aware of these issues really early. again, much detail. we had a subscription to ms., and when it began publication, i read it in our library, and then we had women residents studies classes from '72 on so we introduced women's studies to middle school and ten-year-olds were taking it. and i participated in a class there based very much on the articles i've read in ms. magazine that interested me, and then i had my own subscription as a gift on my 14th birthday, and that covered the range of the same questions that the caller is interested in. the changing nature of marriage, how the law reflected women as an independent agent, and any relationship and so on. >> host: rod is calling from
1:53 am
florida. here is your quiz: when were women first allowed to participate in the olympic games? >> caller: um, 1960s. >> guest: well, actually the 1920s. either '22 or '28. this was a big part of the problem whereby we had the modern olympics introduced in 1896, but the gentleman who was in charge for many years did not support women going to the games. he felt that women in sports were unappealing and it was improper. there was actually a women's olympics held in france. when women were permitted into the olympics there was a very famous event where they ran a race and critics were frightened by the illinois of women being tired and -- the image of women
1:54 am
being tired and lying down on the track, and then women were banned from doing distance running until the 1970s. and women were banned from the boston marathon until katherine switzer ran nonetheless, and these changes have all happened quite recently. but, yes, women were at the olympics in the '20s. >> host: go ahead with your question. >> caller: i failed miserably on the quiz so i'm not sure whether i'm qualified to ask the question, but if you permit me -- >> guest: please. >> caller: i am writing a book on successful indian-american woman, and so my question to professor is that are you -- have you done any study or research on specifically on the indian-american woman? >> guest: you bet. and hello to my childhood friend and various others. the neighborhood i lived in, in
1:55 am
l.a. in the '60s, had many families from india. i was very aware of the lives of indian women in first and second grade i had quite a few friends who were from india, learned to say indian words, and i was interested in the -- of course when you're a kid, the holidays and the language, but i actually incorporated those images into the stories i wrote as a little girl. as i grew older i became much more aware of the dilemma of women in terms of the caste system and troubles based on tribal practices and so forth. what it utilized today was text book called women, the unfinished revolution, which, of course, presents viewpoints of women globally and has a lot of material about women in india. on semester c, where i work as a
1:56 am
visiting faculty, on two global tours, we went to india. i took my students to bangalor to the women's book store and we were able to spend a wonderful afternoon there, also met with a national cartoonist, women writers. that was terrific, and the week spent in india remains a central part of the semester 2 curriculum. for my students it was very moving to meet with women who were working on behalf of women's rights at the time, and were directed to look at that again with recent concerns about violence against women in india getting a lot of media innings the country. but -- media attention in the country. is was affect by writings by indian men as a kid because the school library had a lot of becomes donated. he who rides a tiger, and books
1:57 am
about untouchables or the caste, so this is one of my favorite subjects. thank you for asking. >> host: we are talking today with professor bonnie morris, who teaches at george washington university and georgetown university here in washington, dc. also the author of six nonfiction books beginning in 1997, with the high school scene in the 50s, in 1998, mature women in america came out. >> girl reel, revenge of the women's studies professor came out in 2009, and her most recent book, women's history for beginners. and i should mention that women's history for beginners is the booktv book club selection for me month of february. >> guest: woo-hoo. >> host: go to book of.org and there's a to be that says book
1:58 am
club and you can participate in our discussion at booktv.org. we'll be posting video and reviews and articles up there tomorrow. so the discussion will begin tomorrow. we'll also be posting on a regular basis discussion questions. so, i hope you'll be able to participate. bonnie morris' women's history for beginners is our february 2014 book club selection on booktv. next call from jan in north carolina. jan, back to the quiz. when were women first admitted to yale university? >> caller: i believe it was also in the early '70s, '73, '74. >> guest: somewhere there around. i can't remember the exact date. you could take classes before then but integration into the ivy league comes after title ix. >> my husband graduated west point, and several years before
1:59 am
women were in -- enlisted into west point, he always wondered how they did all the things he did. always amazing to him. my basic question is, how do you answer whether the feminist woman against a conservative or conservative woman against a feminist. the opposite contrast of allowing them to believe their beliefs, whether the woman is a feminist and she doesn't believe in guns or war, or she is a conservative and she goes out and handles rifles or does hunting or camping, or stays home and does the knitting and crocheting. why do they tear each other apart and not get together as women? >> guest: what a great question. got a couple of years? well, okay. you're raising the question, do you have to subscribe to one set of political beliefs to be a
2:00 am
feminist, and another question you're raising is, why do women in failing to unite, waste a lot of energy tearing each other down. there's a lot of trashing that goes on in the women's movement. no doubt about it. and i certainly experienced some of that myself. i believe, though, what you're bringing up is very significant, and that is how many issues do women disagree on where you have more than one stance, as moving women forward. for example, the we of women in the military -- the question of women in the military is complicate. one filmist viewpoint might be, yes, women have every opportunity, including combat if they qualify. close no occupations to win. everyone should have access. another feminist viewpoint might be, women shouldn't kill. women shouldn't participate in
2:01 am
militaristic enterprises. these are both women's viewpoints and they're both very significant viewpoints. another example would be, does it empower a woman to participate in football or is it violent? these are issues where there's a lot of dissent. i think there's space for disagreement. where i become concerned is when a woman is empowering her viewpoint, voting or giving money to causes, but take opportunities away from other women or going to forbid women to get services they need. i think that among my circle of friends there's a lot of disagreement on different issues, and i think in the classroom it's very important that i create a climate where everyone's viewpoint is welcome. i think i do that reasonably well. the fact i also have office
2:02 am
hours and e-mail where students can disagree privately with something somebody else might have said and they don't have to engage in a public debate, that's helpful. i think it takes a while for students to bring up the kind of confidence that i just have naturally. and it's very hard to argue in a public forum when you're in your first year of college. it takes a while for a student to develop the skills and maybe arguing with someone in the next seat. i don't have an answer to your question in terms of how women discourage one another from following their own goals if to the goals feel right for them and a great criticism of feminism, it made women feel like if they didn't have a career they weren't valuable. women said, i'm just a house wife. that is a problem because it was supposed to be about choices. you choose to be a stay stay-ate
2:03 am
mom, rock on. but, yes, those different approaches to empowerment should be honored. >> host: what wave are we in now? you said the second wave -- >> guest: there's a lot of disagreement whether it's use toll continue thinking in wave. the third wave was seen as a moment by young feminists of color to look at intersectionallity. race, class, gender. your it neck heritage, racial standpoint, inform your feminism, i would say that right now, the predicament is everyone is reacting against their mother's feminism. the students i have now are the daughters of moms who were activists in the '70s and have to make their own definition. as radical as our mothers were in the '70s, the fact they were mothers makes what they did
2:04 am
square, if you follow. in other words, i understand it's normal to rebel against your parents. i'm close to my patients but the idea you have to come up with a new definition understandable. what everyone is still interested in are these issues of the body, the majority of papers my students do are about images of women in the media, how women are made to feel negative about their bodies, excessive dieting, girls being pushed to dress very sexually at an early age, that toddlers and tierras program where little girls are pushed into beauty pageants as age three. all of the ways in which we sexualize kids, which is a big problem in a country dealing with a pedophilia scandal here and there. those endlessly interest my students. they're also very interested in
2:05 am
international issues of the body. how do we evaluate something like female circumcision, what do we do with issues of women who are expected to have what another definition might be, genital mutilation? how do you control that? all of this is material that speaks to my students who are dating and reproductive age. they're not as quick to want to look at property issues of the 1850s. and that also is a reminder that each wave of feminism is addressed different things based on who is participating. >> host: from revenge of the women's studies professor, you write: when student don't like the grade on their exams and blast off an e-mail my first caution to them is always, stop, think, would you speak to a male professor this way?
2:06 am
>> guest: yeah. i now am very familiar with ambitious students who fall apart at the sign of an aye-minus and that's a haulmark of our excellent universities here in the district. but i know that on some occasions i've had students confront me in ways i don't think they would in an older male professor. when i first started teaching, no one believed i was a professor. i had several appointments in places where there weren't a lot of women faculty and i would be challenged if i went into the faculty room or would have -- actually i had some students say you're in the wrong place, this is a women in war clarks on the first day. i said, that's right, i'm the professor. so stick around, okay? i was asked at harvard to show my i.d. when i entered the english department's faculty lounge. i was meeting a colleague to have lunch, and then the
2:07 am
embarrassed guy who confronted me said, oh, well, but you're too young and pretty to be a professor. and i'm like, really? what does that say? that the image of a woman professor is some kind of angry hag? and these are -- these all of events and encounters that made up my one-woman play, revenge of the women's studieses professor, and the book is based on what it was like touring with a play that engaged audiences to look at what is going on in schools. >> host: dana, twitter: why are liberal feminists so antisecond amendment? paraphrase. god created humans but sam colt made them equal. >> guest: well, i think that the problem of gun violence is a very significant one. i think there's a lot of women who come out of the peace movement and the movement that looks at violence in all its forms. i think a lot of women do feel
2:08 am
safe if they have been sexually assaulted and are experiencing post traumatic stress. often proficiency with firearms gives that kind of -- the recovering victim more confidence. i also say that women are on the front lines of seeing how gun violence affect communities. they're in hospitals. because women still are the majority of nurses and teachers, the issue of gun violence in schools and how it's affecting how kids are -- the psychologically terrified. i think that's a women's issue. >> host: bonnie morris do you have any male heros in the women's rights movement? >> guest: oh, sure, you bet. my gosh. okay. burtch by, of -- bayh, behind
2:09 am
title ix. now i'm going to race around memory. >> host: you do that. if you come up with one throughout the program you can added in. that as a little bit of a curve ball. bruce in laurel, maryland. bruce, which black woman ran for president of the u.s. in 1972? this is from bonnie morris' quiz. >> caller: her last name is davis? >> guest: no. shirley chisolm. she poke at duke university. when i was 11 my mother took me to see her and that had a big impact on my life. i had show a film about her campaign in my class. >> host: good ahead, bruce. >> caller: when you say women -- >> what, i apologize. bruce, that was me who cut you off. i was moving on, i have no idea why i did that and it was inexcusable.
2:10 am
and i apologize to you. dep bra in detroit, michigan. high, debra. >> caller: good afternoon. how are you both and a special greetings to professor morris. enjoying your show. wish i'd gotten that question because that's my statement was going to start off with three of my political sheroes, and joanne watson who went off council in december, and have something experience working on campaigns as well as going through a lot of respect of he woman lea wilson about closing the leadership gap. i had the opportunity to meet her and to go through one of her programs here in michigan. one of the things you see ones that it women are very unrepresented, but the other is just how that intersects with
2:11 am
race, and gender, and for african-american women, just seems to be you have to transcend the issues of class, race, and i'm wondering if you have given any thought to looking at how this plays out in terms of the kinds of policy that we're seeing. to me there's an attack on the working class nowdays. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: professor, if you can hang on, debra, i wasn't prepared but now i have your quiz question it you would like to take one: who is the first black woman to win an olympic gold medal. >> caller: that would have been -- she ran track -- will ma rudolph. >> guest: actually, i think alice coachman before, but wilma
2:12 am
rudolph then, yes. i have posters of both in my office. so let me answer you question. my great privilege is to occasionally work with donna brazil at georgetown. she is on the faculty of women's studies and i defer to her in terms of her class on women in american politics addresses many of these issues from her perspective as a long-time campaigner and critic. in terms of, yes, could we have better representation of working women and women issues if we had more diversity and representation? absolutely. and what is great about shirley chisolm. she was put on the agriculture committee as a freshman representative, and she refused saying, you know, i represent bedford stuyvesant and we don't have a lot of agriculture trip. need to address my constituent issues. i just love that. by the way, my grandfather lived
2:13 am
in bedford stuyvesant as a little boy as a jewish immigrant kid. anyway, the idea that we don't have a full representation says a great deal. first of all, it means it's very difficult for women to run and a lot of women are reluctant to do so. this is often credited to women believing they're not prepared or having difficulties fundraising. and i think there's a lot of reluctance on the part of many women to subject. thes to the criticism that comes when you run for office. i also believe that if women like chisolm run, their campaign is less of a focus on gender than on race, and we see that in the story of shirley chisolm. she was not primarily seep as a female candidate but as a black woman, and she was treated very differently than the way hillary
2:14 am
and sarah palin were evaluated in terms of femininity. >> host: guess what, bruce is back. they i cut off. bruce, hi, thanks, i apologize. >> caller: that's all right. i was saying, a book by sheila rothman about feminism, she went into detail about how the reason women wanted the vote was two things, they're morally superior and wanted to limit women's participation in the work force, and she goes in detail how they did that. my point i wanted to ask about, she talking about title ix. she says title -- women's studies courses, and there's no men's studies. i've been told it's actually -- there are men's studies and the reason she said there's engineering is dominated, one woman in the class, and obviously women in most colleges, more women in college, you see more for women than men, and all sorts of things you can
2:15 am
have in a men's studies course that have never been brought out before. >> guest: actually we have a lot of classes that look specifically asthmas christianity -- at masculinity. there are classes now that are more likely to be defined as gender studies and look at sexual limitationses, experiences for men and women, and there's obviously great deal of interest in transgender identities. so actually looking at men is found in women's studies where it might not be found elsewhere. in my sports class we begin with men's history because i like to point out that it's not true, men always played sports. men as well as women were banned from sports by our puritan an -- an zest are sos who thought it was the devil's pastime and only later did men become involved in football elm issue that not having men's studies violates
2:16 am
equal rights, it's an interesting argument. i'll take you on. i think what happens is in the same way when you have a black student union and white students say we get to have a white student's union, programs, groups, institutions, that begin to rectify invisibility or lack of opportunity do not necessarily then impede other students' rights to see themselves as a majority all the time. students will get men's history in every class they take. they will not often be told, oh, bill the way, this didn't apply to women. oh, biffle -- oh, by the way no women were allowed to do this. and women's studies is an elective. no one is required to take it. it is a part of an option for furthering in-depth study in our field. in higher education you get to specialize. here is a chance to specialize
2:17 am
and why were women in the past forbidden from sports, the military, medicine, higher education, diplomacy? why are so many schools still closed to girls? why do we see these statistics, one in three women will be raped in her lifetime. often times these are uncomfortable questions. a classroom is a good place to negotiate, hough do we know what we know about women's lives. when have women been empowered to tell their own stories and back to the question about mail feminists i admire. jon stewart mills who wrote, on the subjects of women in 1869, he was an early proponent of, quote, women telling their truths to men, and was one of the first guys to name the problem of domestic violence, he said we don't know women's truths because women are afraid. they often live in context where they're physically intimidated.
2:18 am
so we have gentlemen addressing these questions in the 1970s. we did not get the first rape crisis center until 1972. so 100 years later. so for all of these reasons in some scenarios, it's necessary to have a faith base to provide backup info on women. but, yes, most universities also include courses on masculinities now, and i address that in one of my classes, too. >> 202s the area code, 535-3882. if you can't get through on the phone to talk with bonnie morris you can send a tweet @booktv. or an e-mail, book toe toe@c-span.org. we have a little over an hour and 20 minutes left with our
2:19 am
guest this month. we like to visit our authors in their work places or homes to see how they write and where they write. the producer of this program, tawnya davis, visited with professor morris at george washington university. >> as i will write my first ideas for the next project usually in my notebook in maybe the back section. so making it separate from this is my day ex-here's what i want to do next. and i start with a title and an outline. i almost mete immediately break it into how many chunks are in this idea and with that encloses bond to like chapters, and then some chapter i can flesh out. when you send a book proposal to
2:20 am
an editor they want content, table of contents and chapters, so i automatically think in terms of what i can show a publisher. you have to boil everything down to not a sound bite but a very succinct chunk. usually in writing almost all of the books i've pressured, die the middle chapter first. maybe an introduction, and then something like chapter five or chapter seven, because often the thing i'm best prepared to write is building off something i might have written even ten years before or -- i kind of pirate off my own past work. i write in the middle of the day because that's when my office hours are. and what i have done is, of course, i have quite a lot of time in my office when students can come and meet with me, but they don't. they really do prefer to e-mail,
2:21 am
and it's -- a couple of year ago i recallized i was using the time waiting for students to come in to work on chapters, and now most of my productivity seems to be between, like, 10:00 and 2:00, and the downside of that is that when students come to see me, know my greatest fault is sometimes i will show on my face that i'm annoyed at being interrupted and that was the biggest sin, and then i immediately cringe and apologize, no, please, come in, sit down. let me take this off the screen. the fact is, i have a very comfy office with a great tape player and i'm dating myself but i have mixed tapes of women's music. if i come in here on the weekendses and no one is around in the building, man, i will make the coffee, blast the music, and i am just so happy.
2:22 am
2:23 am
2:24 am
2:25 am
2:26 am
2:27 am
>> host: bonnie morris, what is it about harriet, the spokeswoman, and louise fitzhugh. >> guest: it's the answer to every question about my life. when i brought my ancient tattered copy earlier i showed it to some other folks here. well, hairest wants to be a writer. i knew i wanted to be a writer from the age of five or six. i know that when i was six, when adults asked what i wanted to be when i grew up, i said writer. the book is unusual in that she is a knowsy little girl who is not just writing about dogs and bunnies, but is spying on adults and trying to figure out, frankly, their mixed messages, even their hypocrisy, their variety. she is independent.
2:28 am
her parents are somewhat absent. she is very attached to her caregiver. a lot going on in that book. that was the book that all the girls in my generation were reading by the time we were eight or nine, and the fact that here was a role model, some young girl who wanted to be a writer, i didn't know at the time that the author, lewis -- louise fitzhugh, was gay, and i only found another after a search. but fitzhugh lived in greenwich village, was a contemporary of a lot of other women who are influential in the arts, and harriet struck me at the time -- a little kid in sneakers and blue jeans, writing stuff down, why i wouldn't identify with that? and many of my other friends did, too. >> host: you also talk about tony armstrong, jr. >> guest: my friend who is a
2:29 am
women's music journalist, and who brought me into writing about women's music festivals with an editorial eye, and made me a much better writer. i'm very grateful. and also a friend i love. >> host: right below that is thing my womyn's music festival. >> i'm 0 coordinator for the community center in michigan. i try to live year-around as though i'm in festival culture, meaning it's a place i identify as a home and where most of my most beloved friends return annually to create a city of women once a year. writing about that experience can be very personal. one of the reasons i'm grateful tony is she was -- that is her own basement, running a women's music magazine, and he invited me to write for "hot wire" and was an editor, get to the point,
2:30 am
what do you mean? i think everyone requires an editor if way don't be a writer, and i came out of academia and can be quite long-winded, as you see, so it's a different kind of writing and also wanting to create an accurate record about what women musicians were doing. so, yes, festival culture, not just michigan but camfest, national women's music festival, sister flyer, the new england women's music retreat. my mother went with me to nine different festivals and my father went to one, sister fire, which had men as well as women in the audience. those are the most valued memories for me in terms of taking in as well as reproducing women's culture. >> host: men were welcome at some of those? >> guest: yes. quite a few are in public venues.
2:31 am
national was at a college campus. sister fire was held for years at tacoma park in a middle school, which is an open lot. and there's a couple others as well. it just depends on if it's a day event or a privately-owned lan. >> host: from revenge of the women's studies professor, thick you're talking with either a book editor or chairman of your department and you were told always make the main character of your book a boy to increase sales. girls will read books about little boys but boys won't pick up a book about a girl. >> guest: that's actually a job interview i had in the midwest, where i was brought in as a candidate for a women's history position, and the gentleman interviewing me was the head of the history department. looked at my syllabus and said, well, i think there's a problem here. all of these courses have the word "women" in the title.
2:32 am
i thought, yeah. so i don't think you'd say to he specialist in chinese history, we take the word "china out" that might stop some of our students. and i'm told to my face in an interview for women's history, professorship, the word "woman" will turn off the male students. this was recently, in the span of american history, and anyway, in that session i'm reflecting on, when you market to a general audience, the main imperative is not to offend the male readership or male students or whomever, and i found that was a message i got in a job situation that i really didn't expect. >> host: george washington and georgetown professor bonnie morris is the author of six nonfiction books. the high school scene in the '50s. women in america, 1998. eden, built by eve, 1999.
2:33 am
girl reel, 2000. vaccine of the women's studies professor, 2009. her most recent, women's history for beginners. are you working on a book now? >> guest: i certainly am. i'm working on several. and in fact i should add i also had three other books that were supposed to be in present, all of which experienced the press going bankrupt just as the book was going to be published. that's a sign of the times. i'm working on a women's sports textbook, to correspond in my class, international athletics, and i'm also working on a book about the erasure of recent women's culture, the disappearance of women's book stores and events, and why that is happening. that is very much a look at how we've built lgbt history into many of our universities now but the l is being written out. there's less of a representation
2:34 am
in terms of classes that look at the female experience. what i want to do is talk about what it's like to live through an era that ises shifting, and are we going to lose information about women's lives which we will have later on, in the same way that poetry was celebrated and then burned, fragmented, now we wish we had it in front of us. a lot of contempt for the kind of achievements that were really centering around lesbian activism, which impelled feminism forward. now it's the stereo type of the birkenstock, eating grandknoll la, and i was happy to be that person i did a lot of work. >> who was safo.
2:35 am
>> guest: greekpot. sixth century. you can -- she wrote in a way that simultaneously described everyday life for young girls who expected to mary as child brides and were terrified of dying in child birth. a lot of that it's their fear of losing their maiden head. and she had women lovers and wrote about those relationships in a romantic way. one of her most moving pieceses, you may laugh but some day someone will think of us, and i think that has made my really committed to ensuring she is remembered. >> host: dan in bridgewater, new jersey. you have been very patient. please go ahead with your question or comment for professor bonnie morris. >> caller: yeah. i had the unique opportunity to see the feminist issues unfold
2:36 am
in my grandmother's generation, before world war i, my mother's generation. my own generation in world war ii and this was in eastern europe and coming to america and being exposed to feminism in the '60s and '70s while i was married. i had a chance to see feminism unfold in asia, and i had a chance to see it unfolding in my daughters and my granddaughters. so, it's a sort of spectrum there that shows many variations and complications that women feel no matter what kind of support or nonsupport the family -- >> host: what some observations particularly maybe about your mother and grandmother's generation in eastern europe? >> caller: this was in eastern europe, where you would think they were much more closed-minded than in the united
2:37 am
states. women were in quotas to be sure, just like jews were admitted in quotas to university, but if they made it, really pushed them to excel, and when they excelled. like madam currie, they were totally recognized for their position, but i -- what i'm really interested in was a complaint that ben friedan had about a certain switch of feminism that was going from women in general, into the lesbian area, which was something completely different, and as a grandson to a grandfather of girls who may or may not go into that area, i'm deeply concerned that we're being distracted from the real issue of the woman fitting into the new society by some of the particularities. >> host: hsu to much.
2:38 am
>> caller: one more thing. is that as a physician, and coming from a family of physicians who in those days there were no female physicians so we had to do the -- still had to do the medical care of women, we find that these kind of social notions that are going on today and not dealing with really medical crisis that women face, the high price they pay for child birth and all these things, and it just seems to me that not talking about women in a normal flow of situations, given how much we know, just like talking about men in the normal situations, and getting kind of stuck in the lesbian homosexual environment. >> host: i think we got the point. let's hear from professor morris. >> guest: a very get subject. first of all, i want to refer to a very good book title by
2:39 am
suzanne far, homophobia, a weapon of sexism. one of the reasons there is a focus on lesbian identity in women's studies is not only to cover the full range of women's lives and experience, but also as long as a woman is shamed for not getting married or not being attracted to a man or expected to put all of her energy into attracting a man, that is behind a lot of the limitations on what women are allowed to do. as long as a woman can be pushed into a relationship with a man because if she won't say yes to him, someone is going to call her a lesbian, that is an issue. huge issue in terms of sexual violence in the military. prove you're straight by going out with me. so, it's very important to look at, if lobes-and-the worst thing you can call somebody, how does that affect women then submitting to forced
2:40 am
relationships with men or foregoing other opportunities or what have you. so that's very important to say. i agree with you that the majority of women around the world do marry and become mothers and, therefore, we have to look at what are the conditions and emergencies, frankly in reproductive health care. absolutely. but we also see lesbians as mothers. that's very important, and we see how shabbily they're treated in the healthcare system. are their partnerships even recognized? we have a really checker boarded legal system in the united states. state-by-state, there's no guarantee if you go into an emergency room that your partner is permitted to see you. that you have say so over your partner's kid that you're allowed to adopt as a second parent. your partner's kid. that can result in everything from death to the complete alienation of lesbians in the health care system, which then
2:41 am
2:42 am
>> guest: verse sis the needs of, you know, a young soccer player in northern virginia. all of those issues can be addressed in women's studies, though, and thank you for letting me talk about them. >> host: bonnie morris, on your quiz in women's history for beginners, who founded bryn mawr college? i wrote mrs. mawr, but i don't think that's the correct answer, is it? >> guest: no. you know what? i know who it is, but i'm so distracted by this last discussion, so, boy, am i going to hear about this. forgive me. a really dynamic woman. everybody should read the book "to believe in women" which looks at the founders and activists of women's colleges. >> host: paul, hemlock, michigan. paul, who was the first woman admitted to medical school in the united states? >> caller: you know, i'm drawing a blank. i do not know. >> host: that makes two of us. all right, go ahead with your question or comment for bonnie
2:43 am
morris. >> caller: violence has been used -- i'm a father of three daughters, and i've got three granddaughters, and violence has been used against everybody on this world walking this earth. but when it comes to my children, i would lay down my life for 'em. but my i question is -- my question is, why culturally do we have women abusing -- people abusing women in the middle east and the eastern bloc of europe? it's a cultural thing. this the south pacific. -- in the south pacific. women should be held in high regard. my mother was held in high regard. i just don't understand how cultures have formulated their idea of keeping women down, so could you address that? >> host: paul, do you consider yourself a feminist? >> caller: no. i'm a man who believes in equal rights for everybody. so that's not feminist, that's just humanism. >> guest: okay. although it would make you one. anyway, the answer is elizabeth blackwell. she was anytimed to geneva
2:44 am
medical college as a joke. >> host: as a joke? >> guest: okay. yes. she applied, and it was put to a vote of the male student body, and they thought it was so i lair yous and that she would surely fail, and they were amazed when she actually showed up and completed the course of study. okay. why is there violence against women, and it is local as well as global. it's not limited to any nation. it's an issue in every country. and the fbi can offer all kinds of bitter statistics that showcase how much it's a part of american culture. the will to keep women limited or to treat women as property which is supported by custom and law since time immemorial, a lot of it is simply a part of patriarchy which enables men to control women and anyone this their household -- in their household. that included in ancient history servants and slaves and
2:45 am
concubines. a man was empowered to punish anyone. and the earliest code of laws we have shows that there were already dozens and dozens of laws about controlling women and how to punish them and distinctions between good women l and bad. it also gave men the right to put their wives and their children to death if they disobeyed. so it begins with scriptural support, violently controlling anyone who's disobedient and the absolute authority that men had over wives, and it moves into the control families are permitted over their kids. and some people take that to a violent extreme. it's really only been identified as, you know, pathological behavior in my lifetime. >> host: they just gave me the answer, i just got the answer from -- >> guest: i know. >> host: and meg in the control
2:46 am
room, they're writing up words, and is it martha carey? bryn mawr? >> guest: no, it's somebody else. >> host: oh, okay. chris in seattle. >> caller: hi. >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hey, bonnie, it's chris williamson calling. >> guest: oh, my god, i love you so much. >> caller: i love you too. i'm so happy. >> guest: this is one of the most important women in music whose album should be known and put forward the future of olivia records with her best selling album. >> caller: oh, you're the best. [laughter] i just called because i am so proud to see you on this show. i watch it pretty regularly just to see who's writing about what because as a writer myself, you know, i feel it's my job to lean into the wheel, and i love that you love harriet -- [laughter] because i think musicians and writers are all spies, it's what
2:47 am
we do. you know? it's where we get the pulse of life, by listening. and you are such an avid listener, and you, your embrace is huge, and it just gets -- i've seen it get wider and wider. i just want to thank you for keeping the heart in there, you know? because you know when i came in, there just weren't any courses in this at all. and so i learned by heart, you know? and at the feet of mostly, you know, really intense women who were intent on changing the world for women bit by bit by bit. so cheyenne -- i just wanted to i throw this in, the cheyenne nation has a great saying, and they honor grandmothers like crazy because they're the keepers of the story. and the greek word history just means the story -- >> guest: yes. >> caller: you know? and we're in charge of the story
2:48 am
of our lives. and the cheyenne nation says when the hearts of women are on the ground, a nation is finished. >> guest: uh-huh. >> caller: so i thank think -- think the work you're doing is just imperative to, you know, keeping the heart of this world up there where it needs to be on the high road. and i love that one of your influences was that you entered the wave unafraid, and you always have. you entered -- you're entering the second wave unafraid. >> host: chris, how -- >> caller: -- and thank you. >> host: -- how did you get involved in the music festival industry? [laughter] >> caller: i wouldn't call it an industry, i'll tell you that. it is a way of life, is what it is. i became -- i've been a musician all my life, and i've been involved in independent record companies, three of them, three different times. and olivia records, which i helped invent right there in
2:49 am
d.c. around a round table which is how women gather their ideas, circumstance harley -- sirularly, they asked me about sexism in the industry, and i'd had a major label for about a second, and i puz thrown back into the pool, the big gene pool of musicians where i swim quite readily. but, you know, there were a lot of us who were invisible, and i know, bonnie, you have been imperative in addressing the invisibility of women. you just bring it forward, you bring it forward, bring it toward and say look at this, look at in this woman, look at that. the names, the history, all of it. so that we are not invisible. and what i have done is mostly without very many pronouns, honestly, a few there at the top when i wrote "sweet woman" which was a love song to a woman by a woman. women wrote to me and said i had to drive off the road because i was weeping so hard. and we address the heart of the
2:50 am
thing, of the matter. and honestly, the man who said he was a humanist probably not a feminist. if embrace goes wider, you'll see, sir, that with all due respect, feminists are humanists. this is the human condition. we're born, we have this middle period where we can do some good work, and then we check out at the end, you know? like a grand hotel. and bonnie has been there at the hotel desk checking people in, checking them out, noting their passage through life. so thank you, bonnie. this is just me calling to say how proud i am. you're the arrow we shot from the bow in the '70s. we shot it high and far as we could, and you are still flying. >> guest: you know, there's nothing like having your role model call in and give you a compliment to make you feel like you can die happy. so chris is on the cover of my
2:51 am
book, she's one of the musicians who's featured. and, of course, that's one of tony armstrong's -- >> host: which one is she? >> guest: she is right there in white. >> host: all right. >> guest: and, of course, i have every album chris ever recorded, including the first one on different label. and we've worked together on o olivia cruz's -- one of my best memories is chris singing in the arena at the temple of diana which is also, of course, a very famous place where, you know, paul's letters to the ephesians told all women to shut -- to shut to their -- to submit to their husbands. the women's music tradition, of course, predates the '70s movement. i'm writing about that now. there were, of course, women's songs in every culture in the oral traditioning, it's what made women's stories possible when women were illiterate. but i want to credit chris to
2:52 am
something else related to an earlier caller who asked me to remember the stories of women of color. chris has been very good about foregrounding native women's stories in her music. "grandmother's land" is one of my favorite songs. and it's been very important to me to incorporate the histories of native american and native canadian women, aboriginal women of all backgrounds. when i lectured in new zealand, maori women's stories and their historical oppression and their survival. one of the things i'm very proud of right now is i'm helping a women's basketball team get to the all-native basketball tournament in british columbia, and these are women who come from what used to to be called e queen charlotte islands. it's as far west as you can go. and it's one of the oldest nonaffected by the ice age sites
2:53 am
of north america. but there you find women who were members of the hyda tribe and others who are trying to preserve ancient ways as well as participating in modern life. and that story, also, is often left out of women's history, or we'll focus entirely on black and white women and struggle. the experiences of native american women, wow. not having the right to be an american citizen until 1924, let's start there. highest degree of sterilization without consent. on many reservations. but on the other hand, stories of leadership as well. women with great names like wilma mankiller, but also great traditions of poets and writers. all of that's important to me, and i appreciate that what i've found in the women's music movement is women like chris who are not leaving that out of the
2:54 am
story. and other women who bring in a diverse perspective of women's lives in song and performance. >> host: berkeley girl 63 tweets in: so excited to aerofrom chris williamson -- to hear from chris williamson. the changer and the changed is a must-have in every collection. next call comes from renee in akron, ohio. nay, from bonnie morris' book, "women's history for beginners," what is griswold v. connecticut? >> guest: that's a good one. >> caller: i have no idea. [laughter] >> host: okay. what is griswold v. connecticut? >> guest: it's a 1965 case that says that married couples have a right to get a birth control prescription from their doctor. the griswolds were a couple in connecticut who found they couldn't, even as a married couple, get birth control, and they brought the case to the state, and it became reinterpreted as a right to privacy issue.
2:55 am
>> host: go ahead with your question or comment, renee. >> caller: okay. i'll do my best here. so much is going through my mind. i just went online and ordered your book. >> guest: oh! >> caller: when you had the discussion about the first african women to set foot in americas, that really piqued my interest in what a valuable writer that you probably are, so i had to have your book. when i consider the history of slavery and domination and oppression of african-american women in this country by whites, i wonder do you write about this your book about the identity struggle that black women have in trying to align themselves with movements throughout history? >> guest: uh-huh. >> caller: and what to take
2:56 am
seriously and what to not take seriously. and i wonder as black authors that you have encountered, do you feel that they have made an adequate attempt whether recognized or not to try and put forth a chronological and realistic history of our struggle in this country? >> guest: yes. >> host: thank you, renee. >> guest: yes, thank you very much for that great question. obviously, i was very affected by the writings of alice walker, audrey lord, also the work of belle hooks. there are a lot of really dynamic critics. i have a very good library of writings about black feminism, also a lot of literature. and i would say that d.c. is definitely a place where you hear those voices. busboys and poets is a location
2:57 am
where some to have best writings by black feminist critics can be bought. i was part of a women's stage for 14 years which is of a very diverse venue for women to read poetry into the microphone about identity as black and female. and i've participated as well in a lot of readings and workshops that are held at the universities. georgetown, actually, had in the spring of '89 a very intense three-day conference on ethnic identity and feminism. very contentious, as these things go. definitely one of the issues, of course, is to what degree any woman identifies primarily with her racial or ethnic group and then when the focus shifts to being a woman in that community. and, you know, i'll joke that in a group of women i'm, you know, a woman, and if somebody makes
2:58 am
an anti-semitic joke, then i'm jewish. and so forth. so what i find is the difficulty bringing this material into the classroom where you might have, let's say, 20 white students and three black students. and the black students are put on the spot to represent everything about black women's history that they might be reading about for the first time. and white students will assume that they should be on the defensive and can't participate in the discussion. those are real issues of how each generation transmits important material to the next. i would definitely say that we are not given enough information many particular about the lives of black women in slavery, but i also think it's difficult to put a focus on that or on someone
2:59 am
like rosa parks without keeping a kind of feeling of violation at the forefront. this is the same issue in feminist studies. where do you draw the line between a history that paints you as a victim and a history that makes students feel truly empowered? you have to look at the outrages and the violations, but you also have to talk about what are the tools that empowered women to survive, how did they cope, how did they teach each other to read, what were the songs of slavery, how did they quote maps of the underground railroads in their embroidery, who did take acts of revenge, who did run away continually to be reunited with a child, and who who were e white women who hid the runaway, and who were the white women who turned her away? all of that knits us together.
3:00 am
my mother was putting me very early on the path to studying racism. she remembers when i was a toddler sitting on the front steps with me explaining why the trash collectors were black. and i became very involved in looking at these issues from a young age because i have a short story i wrote in second grade on martin luther king and the language of slavery. it's always a -- i was a very unusual little kid, but that story's there. and in that story i was able to relate the struggle for black identity with my own understanding of having a i jewish identity. when you start a conversation with a kid, it will flower. but a lot of people believe you have to delay those conversations until, you know, you're in college. a lot of people don't go to college. so this is why we have to get women's studies, black history, everything into high schools and middle schools. by the way,

43 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on